Has there ever been a better time to postpone retirement?
The number of older workers has been on the rise since at least the mid-1990s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One possible reason: “These workers are not only making more money on average than ever before but are outpacing the average earnings growth of other age groups,” according to a post at the U.S. Census Bureau website.
But rising incomes aren’t the only reason to stay on the job a little longer. Here are several more unexpected benefits of delaying retirement:
1. You get to do meaningful work
Seniority comes with perks. Older workers are more likely to say they get to set their own hours and apply their own ideas to their work, according to research from the nonprofit think tank Rand Corporation.
They’re also more likely to feel their work is useful and satisfying, and less likely to say work is monotonous.
In short, work feels more rewarding for these seniors.
2. You have more social interaction
Work — unless it’s fully remote — provides a built-in social network and an environment where you often have to talk to someone about something.
Maintaining friendships after retirement certainly isn’t impossible, but it’s not automatic, either.
3. You can align with your spouse’s retirement
Having one spouse retire while the other is still working can require compromise along with changes in budgeting, schedules and household responsibilities.
Continuing to work until both are ready for retirement means more time to make plans and set equitable expectations.
4. You have more time to transition
A sudden shift to no longer doing something you’ve done for 40 years or longer is jarring. You need to adjust to a whole new routine, find ways to fill your time and decide what now matters to you.
Many people also wrap up their sense of identity in their jobs. One of the first questions we’re asked when meeting someone new is, “So, what do you do for a living?” Losing that source of identity can be another big adjustment.
Continuing to work, even part time, provides the opportunity to think through these issues and consult retiring peers about the ways they’re navigating the transition.